4 Best Types of Photos on Social to Attract Restaurant Employees and Customers

It’s no secret Social Media is the #1 way to scale your business and attract employees in 2022. Unfortunately a lot of restaurants go about it the wrong way and wonder why they get dismal results. Good news is there is a simple strategy that will attract more employees and clients at the same time.

It’s in the photo choice.

Two Reasons Why What Photos You Post on Social Media Matters for Attracting Your Ideal Customers & Employees

1. Quality Matters. Especially when it comes to food. Think about the last time you saw a horrible photo of food posted on social. You likely cringed and asked why on Earth they would have posted that. A low quality photo of food is not appetizing. It does nothing to help entice your clients in and definitely does not attract new clients or employees.

2. On Brand Matters. A good quality photo is not enough. Sure, you could stage a cool looking shot with all kinds of props from the frig or home (like you saw on your favorite food bloggers post), but that is exactly what it looks like—something from a bloggers home or studio. This type of photo will not serve its purpose, which is to emphasize your brand. Your goal is to have everyone who sees a photo you post to subconsciously say the name of your restaurant in recognition without even having to stop to read the caption or look at the name (because there are definitely times when people are quickly scrolling through their feed and won't stop). No recognition=Fail. Recognition=success. Plus, if they recognize a post is from you, they are more likely to stop and read the caption or engage in some way.

Types of Photos for a Successful Restaurant Social Media Campaign

  1. Food. This is a given. You want high quality professional on brand photos of your food to entice customers in to your restaurant and remind them of your menu offerings.

  2. Drinks. Photograph drinks that align with your brand, ideal customer and menu offerings. Make sure the photos, selections, and styling are on brand.

  3. Interior. The purpose of interior shots are to show prospective customers and remind current ones of your unique ambiance. To remind them and entice them into the experience they will have by dining at your establishment. 75% of people say they will likely spend more on unique dining experiences. This is your opportunity to share what makes your space unique.

  4. Staff. Equally important is showing high quality professional on brand photos of your staff. You want to show them in their working environment, in action, posed, smiling and being celebrated. This shows prospective employees the type of working environment you provide and also gives you an opportunity to praise, share about and recognize hard work or tenure.

How To Incorporate the 4 Primary Categories of Photos into Your Restaurant's Social Media Plan

We will look at a rotation of nine posts. Out of the nine, aim to include all of your categories. A nice rotation could look like this:

  1. Food: 4 out of every 9.

  2. Interior: 2 out of every 9.

  3. Drinks: 1 out of every 9.

  4. Staff: 1 out of every 9.

If you are posting 5 days per week, that is roughly 260 photos total per year and about 29 content blocks of 9 photos each. That would be about 116 food photos; 58 interior photos; 29 Staff and 29 drink photos—if all of the photos were new. Good news is they do not all have to be unique and new. In fact, you should create a library images that can be reused over time. Ideally you will have seasonal photos that rotate in and out, plus menu changes or new celebrations.

How to Use Your Photos to Promote Events, New Menus, or Hiring

1. We recommend the free app, Canva for design pieces. There is also a paid version which offers more features. There are numerous free templates available inside Canva. The goal is to pick one that aligns with your brand and then change the fonts and colors to match your brand story.

2. Then, design a styled theme to run across a certain event (this could be simple text and a border that overlays an image). Be consistent with the template you choose for that event, assuming it is an event you will run more than once. For example, if you host quarterly wine dinners or seasonal menu previews, these would have a recognizable design that is used for each one. You would simply change out the text and photo. And, remember, less is more—keep your design clean and simple with the gorgeous photo the star to draw people in.

3. You would then use these in your social feed. The key to remember is you want it to look enticing and a part of your culture. It should not look like an ad or piece of spam. Reserve your more direct selling to your stories or on brand email blasts—and even then, design pieces that look like content, not ads.

4. The same applies for announcing job openings in your feed. This should be done with extreme intention and care (see this article about the best practices to attract employees using social media). When directly posting for a job opening, use an on brand template that is enticing and appealing even to a customer browsing your feed.

5. Stories are an ideal place to post about events, new menus, specials, job openings, general news, behind the scenes and more. As stories disappear after 24 hours (but can also be saved to highlights) they offer a perfect alternative for showcasing more “sales-y” content. Same is true here, however, use a template made for stories that is also on brand. If you are posting numerous images in sequence, utilize the tall clean space with full frame photos.

Attracting Your Ideal Restaurant Customers & Employees All Starts with Your Plan

Make sure you start with an annual on brand marketing plan to ensure you are attracting your ideal clients and employees. Having a plan in place will not only make you stand out in a crowded market place, it will also help you to know exactly when to start marketing that next event to sell it out with your best possible clients. And, that ongoing plan positions you in the market place as "the place" for potential restaurant employees to work.